Ask me: Fresno, Central shared mascots

Special to The Fresno BeeNovember 9, 2013 

Question: My mother said that when she attended Central High School in 1942, both Central and Fresno High claimed the Warriors as mascots until Central changed to the Grizzlies. What is the history of the switch?

— Leonard Breitling, Kingsburg


Looking through yearbooks for Central and Fresno high schools for the 1920s through the 1940s at the downtown Fresno County Library, it is apparent that high schools then didn't place as much emphasis on mascots as schools do today.

Fresno High was the city's first high school when it began in 1889; the Echo Avenue campus was built in 1922. The 1923 Fresno High yearbook, the Owl, contains a drawing of two Indian warrior heads facing each other to illustrate the Student Senate. By 1928, Fresno High had adopted the Warriors as its mascot.

Central High was organized in 1922 and its first yearbook that year, "El Centro," says the senior class picked red and white as the school colors, but doesn't mention a mascot name.

The 1936 Central yearbook shows the student newspaper was the Cheyenne Warrior and the name Warriors was applied to the varsity football team, which was also referred to as the Cheyennes. The school's colors are now orange and black.

A 1940 Fresno Bee sports story carries the headline "Central Warriors Blank Caruthers," but in 1942 the school's newspaper became the Grizzlie Gazette and the school's mascot apparently also changed that year.

The 1949 El Centro yearbook shows the profile of a bear on a drum in the student band and the name Grizzlies on bleachers at a football game.

Central High teacher and football coach Wayne Koligian said he doesn't know the official reason the Central mascot was changed, "but old-timers have told me they didn't want to be the same as Fresno High, so they changed to the Grizzlies because the bear is on the state flag."

Question: Where did Manning Avenue get its name?

— Heidi Wheeler, Fresno


According to late author and historian Catherine Rehart, both Manning Avenue and a rural school were named for pioneer Elisha Arnold Manning.

With trademark flowery prose, historian Paul Vandor in his 1919 "History of Fresno County" described Manning as "a man who did things. What he set out to do, he did with all his might; obstacles never discouraged him."

Manning was born in Boston. He came to California in 1856 and ran a freight business between the Bay Area, San Bernardino and Salt Lake City. In 1863 he opened the West Coast's first shoe factory in Oakland.

Manning married Adeline Hogle and they settled in Hanford in 1876. A pioneer in irrigation work, Manning built the Mussel Slough Ditch and 76 Ditch in the Hanford area and later managed the ditches of the Fresno Canal and Irrigation Co.

According to his obituary in the Fresno Morning Republican, Manning came to Fresno in 1888 and moved to Kerman in 1894, where he was a rancher and land developer.

When Adeline Manning died in 1918, Manning returned to Hanford, where he died in 1919. He was survived by daughters Mary Gribi and Elizabeth Coe, and son, Thomas G. Manning, all of Hanford, Nellie Jones of Porterville and Nannie Smith of Fresno County.

Question: What were the former names of the Elbow Room restaurant in Fig Garden Village?

— Julie Spina, Clovis


According to Fresno Bee stories, the original Elbow Room was on Palm Avenue south of McKinley Avenue. Theodore Collier ran a grocery store in the building in 1937 and opened Collier's restaurant there in 1946.

Bob and Dorothy Adams bought the restaurant in 1957 and changed the name to Elbow Room. Vito Guido became the owner in 1972. The city of Fresno bought the Elbow Room and three nearby houses in 1975 and razed the buildings to widen McKinley Avenue.

Mike Shiranian, owner of Fig Garden's Elbow Room, said the space was originally occupied by a dentist's office. It was Borelli's restaurant in the 1980s and D'Mil's in the mid-1990s.

Shiranian opened the Elbow Room on Shaw Avenue west of Palm in 1994 and moved the restaurant to its current location in 1997.

Ask Me publishes on the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Paula Lloyd is a freelance writer. Send questions to or by mail to Paula Lloyd, c/o The Fresno Bee Newsroom, 1626 E St., Fresno CA 93786. Please include your name, city of residence and a phone number.


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